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Katharina Kitzinger receives the MARUM Research Award

Jun 16, 2020

The scientist Dr. Katharina Kitzinger from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology is one of the winners of this year's MARUM Research Award. She receives the award for her outstanding research on key processes in the nitrogen cycle in the sea, the microorganisms involved and the peculiarities of their metabolism.


„I am incredibly pleased that I received this year's MARUM research award for my doctoral thesis,” says Katharina Kitzinger. “I was only able to carry out my work in this form thanks to the many people in Bremen and Vienna who always supported me. First to name are my supervisors Marcel Kuypers and Hannah Marchant here in Bremen, and Michael Wagner at the University of Vienna. Due to their support, I was able to devote myself entirely to my favorite microorganisms – nitrifers who play an essential role in the global nitrogen cycle.  Moreover, I got the opportunity to examine these organisms in a beautiful habitat – the ocean.”

The nitrogen cycle in the sea is one of the most important global element cycles, since the element nitrogen is a component of proteins and many other natural substances, and is therefore essential to live. Nitrogen cycling in shelf waters is crucial to reduce surplus nutrients, poured into the ocean by rivers. Yet many of its aspects are poorly understood. Katharina Kitzinger has now succeeded in finding answers to a longstanding mystery in a key process of the nitrogen cycle. Here you can find more information on her research: "Mystery of marine recycling squad solved"

The MARUM - Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences of the University of Bremen an­nu­ally is­sues the MARUM Re­search Award for Mar­ine Sci­ences. This prize is awar­ded to out­stand­ing mas­ter's or doc­toral theses that have been writ­ten over the past two years by young mar­ine sci­ent­ists at the Uni­versity of Bre­men. The prize money of up to € 3,000 is to be used as a schol­ar­ship and is in­ten­ded to be­ne­fit the sci­entific ob­ject­ives of the awardee. The MARUM Re­search Award for Mar­ine Sci­ences is awar­ded in co­oper­a­tion with the "Ver­ein zur För­der­ung der wis­senschaft­lichen Forschung in der Freien Hans­estadt Bre­men (VFwF e.V.)"

Katharina Kitzinger (Picture: Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, A. Esken)

Information about Katharina Kitzinger:


Katharina Kitzinger (born in 1989) already examined questions about the physiology of nitrifers during her bachelor’s and master’s degree at the University of Vienna (2009 – 2015). For her doctoral thesis, Kitzinger studied nitrification in the ocean and worked mainly in Bremen. She did her thesis at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Marine Microbiology (2015 – 2019), in cooperation with the faculty Geosciences at the University Bremen and the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, University of Vienna.

Title of her thesis: „In Situ Growth and Or­ga­nic Ni­tro­gen Uti­liza­t­i­on by the Main Ni­tri­fiers in the Oce­an“

Grade: 1 „summa cum laude“

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Mar­cel Kuy­pers (Director of the MPI for Marine Microbiology and Professor for Biochemistry at the University Bremen), Prof. Dr. Mi­cha­el Wag­ner (Director of the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, University of Vienna)

Since September 2019, Katharina Kitzinger works as a Post-Doc in the Department of Biochemistry at the MPI Bremen.


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